What I’ve Been Reading: Wonder

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Children's Literature, What I've Been Reading | 0 comments

My name is August, by the way. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

This is worth every bit of the hype. Far and away my favorite piece of sabbatical reading so far. I’m a big fan of Cynthia Lord’s Rules, which deals with a boy with autism and his older sister, but I actually think that R. J. Palacio actually provides a stronger, more vivid, more honest look at what it means and feels like to grow up other than “normal,” to have a sibling or a friend or a student who is not “normal.”

This is one of those books that is hard for me, as an adult, to read. It’s difficult to shed my adult impulses to protect and shelter Auggie from all the cruelty, intentional and unintentional, that he encounters every day as he leaves his sheltered, homeschooled life and starts fifth grade. Like his mom, I want to keep this kid safe forever. But that’s one of the ways the author succeeds so brilliantly–in letting Auggie suffer but also letting his courage show through. His story is bearable in part because he is so strong, and also in part because he’s surrounded by a cast of flawed but loving characters who help him through (and grow themselves as well).

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